I am excited to bring you another Bright Arrow Coach Spotlight, featuring Deb Skarda. I hope you enjoy getting to know our coaches and getting a glimpse into their personalities and coaching style. All of our coaches are highly trained, experienced, certified, and hand-selected for our clients. Serving as executive or leadership team members for organizations of all sizes, our coaches have walked in your shoes. Bright Arrow coaches spent decades navigating the business landscape and successfully climbing the corporate ladder prior to entering the executive coaching field. Our coaches have experienced the same volatilities and uncertainties, complexities, and ambiguities prevalent in most organizations today.
Let’s get to know Deb Skarda, Bright Arrow Coach.
Why did you become a coach?
About 15 years ago I was at a significant point in my career, I had a high-profile, demanding role that was taking a toll on my health, family, and relationships. I hired a coach to help me figure out what to do and how to get there. It was truly a transformational experience, personally and professionally. I knew then that someday I wanted to be a coach and help leaders figure out how to create their own formula for a successful and fulfilled life, team, and career.
What is your favorite quote about leadership?
“Leadership and Learning are indispensable to each other.”
– John F. Kennedy
What are your special focus areas as a coach?
I love working with executives and leaders who like to take on new challenges, need to navigate matrixed, global organizations, and enjoy partnering with diverse team members. Typically, this includes leaders preparing for or recently promoted into senior-level positions or new functional areas.
What do you believe is important that leaders embody in order to be effective in the future?
I believe that leaders need to embody a “learner vs knower” mindset. It’s important that leaders are always adapting to the changing dynamics at the micro and macro levels. Leaders who connect and listen to diverse members of the organization and community will have the greatest impact in the future.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I began my career as a critical care nurse. A series of events brought me to the pharmaceutical industry where I realized that I’d be able to have a much broader impact on patients working in Research & Development than in a bedside setting. The critical thinking, assessment, and listening skills that I learned as a nurse have served me well. After over 30 years in healthcare and pharmaceutical companies, I pivoted to become an executive and leadership coach. I’m always curious. I love to learn new things, meet new people, and experience new adventures. I live in Wisconsin with my husband. We’re blessed with two adult children, their spouses and two grandchildren.
Something people are surprised to learn about you.
I’m a farmer. We have 30+ heads of Scottish Highlander cattle (the big, adorable, furry ones). My husband does most of the work taking care of the cattle and crops. I think leaders and farmers have a lot in common, both need to plan for the worst, hope for the best, expect something in between and quickly adapt to a changing environment.
What do you do in your free time?
I love the outdoors and all four seasons of the Midwest. I enjoy hiking, boating on the Mississippi River, cooking, traveling, quilting, reading, and spending time with my family.